You will need to change how you do some things. Try not to sit for longer than 20 or 30 minutes at one time. Sleep in any position that does not cause back pain. Your doctor will tell you when you may become sexually active.
You may be fitted for a back brace or corset to help support your back:
- You should wear the brace when you are sitting or walking.
- You may void wearing the brace when you sit on the side of the bed for a short period of time or use the bathroom at night.
Do not to bend at the waist. Instead, bend your knees and squat down to pick up something. Do not lift or carry anything heavier than around 10 pounds (nothing heavier than a milk carton). This means you should not lift a laundry basket, grocery bags, or small children. You should also avoid lifting something above your head until your fusion heals.
Take only short walks for the first 2 weeks after surgery.
- After that, you may slowly increase how far you walk.
- You may go up or down stairs once a day for the first 1 or 2 weeks, if it does not cause much pain or discomfort.
- Do not start swimming, golfing, running, or other more strenuous activities until you see your doctor. You should also avoid vacuuming and more strenuous household cleaning.
Your doctor may or may not send you for some physical therapy after you leave hospital. You will need to learn how to move and do activities in a way that prevents pain and keeps your back in a safe position. These are:
- How to get out of bed or up from a chair safely
- How to get dressed and undressed
- How to keep your back safe when doing work for other activities, eventually including lifting and carrying items
You will also learn certain exercises that help make muscles in your back stronger, and keep your back safe and stable.
Your doctor and physical therapist can help you decide whether or when you can return to your previous job.
Riding or driving in a car:
- Do not drive for the first 2 weeks after surgery. After 2 weeks, you may take short trips when necessary.
- Travel only for short distances as a passenger in a car. Avoid trips where you are sitting for a long period of time. If you have a long ride home from the hospital, stop every 30 to 45 minutes to briefly stretch.